Lethbridge cat rescue sees ‘overwhelming’ support at stop order appeal

Click to play video: 'Community stands with Lethbridge cat rescue' Community stands with Lethbridge cat rescue
An outpouring of support for a local animal rescue organization was seen and heard at Lethbridge City Hall on Thursday as the Last Chance Cat Ranch appealed a stop order issued last month. Jaclyn Kucey has the details – Apr 1, 2022

The Last Chance Cat Ranch fought for its ninth life at Lethbridge city hall Thursday as the organization appealed a stop order.

In February, the non-profit was ordered by the City of Lethbridge to reduce the number of volunteers at the facility to two per day, food deliveries to once per week and gave the rescue one year to stop operations and vacate the premises. The city found the group did not have proper zoning and permits to operate as an animal rescue.

Read more: Man who filed complaint against Last Chance Cat Ranch receiving hate mail

The organization chose to appeal, arguing restrictions on volunteers was dangerous for animal welfare.

“To do any less would be jeopardizing the cats,” said Esther Murillo, Last Chance Cat Ranch board member. “That’s what we’re about… making sure [the cats] are ok.”
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The rescue group also argued the one-year deadline was not enough time to fundraise for, and move to, a new facility.

The appeal was heard in front of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) on Thursday and took over two hours.

More than 15 people spoke at the hearing in support of the cat ranch and the reversal of the stop order. Murillo said the city clerk received more than 300 letters and emails from the public endorsing the rescue.

“That’s very heartwarming and makes us feel that we are in fact doing the right thing.”

Many statements highlighted how the rescue helps reduce the stray cat population in the community.

Read more: Lethbridge’s Last Chance Cat Ranch pounces on appeal following city stop order

Sandiy Webb Arnett, Last Chance Cat Ranch board member said in her three years of volunteering, she has seen the cat ranch even help owners of sick dogs with vet bills.

“It goes beyond just the cats, and it makes me very emotional, as you can tell, because they’re trying to do better,” said Webb Arnett. “They’re trying to make things better, but other people think they’re a nuisance.”

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“We have to do better for the vulnerable,” she added.

The SDAB said a decision on the appeal will be announced no later than Apr. 15.

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